Water jargon can be really confusing. It doesn't help when you're reading water softener comparisons to constantly wonder, "What does THAT mean?!"
So we created this page for you. Simply click on any of the links below to "jump" to the topic and its explanation.
In cases where there is a more detailed article on our site, we link to it from this page at the end of the explanation.
If you find a term on our website that is not explained here, then please contact us and we'll add it for you.
Salt-free water softeners are often referred to as descalers because they do not actually soften the water, but rather prevent scale from building up in your pipes and appliances.
A salt water softener removes dissolved minerals from the water. As the water is passed through the system, the calcium and magnesium molecules are replaced with the salt molecules.
With the salt-free method the minerals remain in the water, but are electrically charged and changed into a crystal form that will not develop into hard scale. However, the hardness level of the water stays the same.
You can find salt-free water softener reviews here.
Electronic water softeners reduce the effects of hard water by passing the water through a magnetic field. The treatment mainly alters the hardness of the water, but does not remove calcium or magnesium molecules.
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It is an inexpensive and chemical-free method of reducing scale build-up
in pipes and appliances, but not a very effective way of purifying your
There is some debate about whether they actually work! You can read both sides of this argument on our site.
Water conditioning is often referred to as water softening. It is the method of removing calcium, magnesium, and other metals from hard water.
The result is softer water that is more compatible with laundry, dish and body soaps, and extends the life of water-based appliances and plumbing.
Water conditioning is generally achieved by an ion-exchange system. Hardness ions that have dissolved in the water may cause a variety of ill effects such as reducing the efficiency of soaps, build-up of limescale which can harm plumbing and appliances, and galvanic corrosion.
Water ionizing is similar to electric water softening. Electrolysis is used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen gas with an electric current. The process is said to have antioxidant effects which can slow down the aging process and prevent disease.
With this method, an electrical power source is typically connected to two stainless steel plates. As the water passes through the system, hydrogen appears at the negatively charged end, and oxygen appears at the end that is positively charged.
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